In a world where drivers pay constantly for maintenance, repairs, taxes and auto insurance, the demand for electric cars has risen in the past few years. With gas prices showing no sign of decreasing any time soon, budget-conscious drivers are looking for ways to save a few bucks at the pump. Environmental and political activists are also at the forefront of the movement for reduced gasoline consumption and diminished U.S. reliance on foreign oil.
Dave Murray, of the National Resources Defense Council staff blog, recently reported on the increased consumer demand for hybrid and fully electric vehicles, exploring the countless benefits granted by having cleaner cars on the road. According to the news source, this year's international nonprofit Net Impact Conference in San Jose, Calif., provided an optimistic outlook for both the future of the automotive industry and the state of environmental affairs in the U.S.
A new generation of automakers emerges
The California conference, which looks to place young entrepreneurs and activists in careers that align with their interests in community and environmental action, reflected the green priorities of American automakers looking to tap into the rapidly expanding hybrid-electric market. Car companies came to Net Impact to not only give consumers insight into the newest innovations in fuel-efficient vehicles, but to find the best and brightest in the next generation of electrical engineers, software developers, and chemists. Not only is the electric auto trend an environmentally responsible movement, it is likely to shape the future of the car industry and revitalize the influence of American automakers.
Young drivers are among the most efficiency-conscious of car consumers, with 89 percent of them considering gas mileage when researching their options, according to Murray. A majority of those individuals - around 78 percent - also consider electric and hybrid vehicles when making their choice. While these cars have been known to be prohibitively expensive for younger generations, the industry is beginning to adapt to the youthful demand for these gas-saving alternatives. Several hybrids can now be leased for less than $200 a month and those prices will continue to decrease toward 2020, the year analysts predict electric to account for 40 percent of the auto market.
Drawbacks of the electric solution
Hybrid and electric vehicles are not appearing without criticism, however. Time magazine recently explored some reasons why electric cars might be the inferior choice when it comes to deciding on a new car. At the forefront of this critique was the fact that electric cars tend to be unattractive to look at, uncomfortable to drive in, and underpowered when on the highway.
Tuttle may have a point, but the numbers speak for themselves - more people are going electric and not turning back. While the American muscle car ideal remains alive in the hearts of older generations, young drivers are looking for the practical advantages afforded them by a fuel-efficient vehicle and opting to forego some horsepower to do so.